Musings and Amusings

I Do at Iao Needle

Today is our silver wedding anniversary. My deepest appreciation to my trusty sidekick and dearest love for 25+ years of support, companionship, adventure and laughter.

Our beginning was a fairy tale; our decision to marry a tad unconventional; and our wedding day a joy to remember.

We got married on the beautiful Hawaiian island of Maui.

Alone. As in, no relatives or friends – just us. Getting married was very emotionally charged for me, and I needed to do it alone with Hub.

My dream, of course, was a romantic beach setting: kicking off our shoes; waves lapping gently; sun slowly dipping below the horizon; and a warm glow radiating between us.

The reality?

Beach weddings were highly regulated, commercialized and unromantic. We could buy the basic, premium or deluxe package for a set rate; a set number of flowers; and “our” 15 minutes on the beach before the next couple stepped in for their unromantic 15 minutes.

No Way and No Problem.

We discovered Iao Valley State Park, a pristine barely-used gem in the middle of the island. While hiking a trail, we located a perfect spot – under the towering Iao Needle – from which the rising sun would bless our ceremony if we got married at dawn.

Iao Needle


We obtained our marriage license and a recommendation to call “Marrying Bob”, a kindly ordained minister. He met with us and agreed to perform the ceremony at 6:30am, shortly after the park gates opened. Marrying Bob recommended we hire Dave, a carefree freelance photographer, who could serve as one of two required witnesses. A quick call to Dave confirmed he’d meet us at dawn at the park. If no one else was at the park to witness our ceremony, we could repeat our vows later in front of Marrying Bob’s secretary. It was all low key, low stress and private – just the way I wanted it.

I brought my self-designed dress from Colorado. The evening before the wedding, we selected our leis; bought Hub a Hawaiian shirt; and hugged and cried while writing our vows.

When we arrived at the park gate at wedding day dawn, there was a single car in the parking lot – a convertible with the top down, and a dark-haired man sitting in the driver’s seat. It wasn’t Marrying Bob. We assumed it was Dave, the photographer.

Hub approached the convertible: “Hi, are you Dave?”

Dark-haired guy, doing a double take and frowning at Hub: “Yeah. Why?”

Hub, holdng out his hand in greeting: “I’m Bob. You’re here to photograph our wedding, right?”

Dark-haired guy, still frowning and pulling back from Hub’s proffered hand: NO!”

It turns out THIS Dave was from California on his honeymoon and came to the park to watch the sunrise while his new wife slept in. After figuring out the confusion and sharing a “what’re the odds” laugh, Honeymoon Dave agreed to be our second witness.

So, our wedding party consisted of:
Bob, the groom
Bob, the minister
Dave, the photographer
Dave, the honeymooner
Me, the blushing bride

The sun rose; we spoke our vows;

Maui wedding 1


we sealed our marriage with a kiss; and we are living happily everafter.

maui wedding 2

Comments on: "I Do at Iao Needle" (69)

  1. Happy Anniversary to you both xx

    What a gorgeous post and thanks for sharing your photos, you made me misty eyed while grinning like a cheshire cat 😉

    • Awww, thank you, sweetheart. I know just what you mean – a good romance story always has me grinning like the Cat through my tears. Big Hugs to you 💖

  2. An Hawaiian wedding sounds wonderful… the stuff dreams are made of…
    Happy Anniversary!

    • Thank you, Michelle! I appreciate your comments 🙂

    • Michelle – will you please reply with your blog URL? I’m guessing it’s the WordPress/BlogSpot hassle, but I cannot link to you by clicking on your gravatar or name, and the URL I had written down for you isn’t correct either! Still trying to organize my A to Z contacts! Thanks.

  3. That really is a unique beginning. Congratulations on reaching the big 25. You could turn this story into a movie, two Bobs, two Daves and a wedding :). Oscar material for sure.

    • Oh that’s funny – like Four Weddings and a Funeral. Maybe Hugh Grant will play Bob, the groom 🙂

      Thanks for visiting; I always enjoy hearing from you!

  4. What a sweet story! Happy anniversary! Love the double Bobs and the double Daves. What are the odds? Oh wait, I could calculate them…don’t really feel like it though. Beautiful bride, Sammy.
    We will celebrate 22 on 6/20 but have been together over 30. High school sweetheart…
    Tina @ Life is Good
    On the Open Road! @ Join us for the 4th Annual Post-Challenge Road Trip!

    • Thanks, Tina. I seem to have more than my share of “name vignettes” in my stockpile of personal stories.

      You high school sweethearts who stay together for the long haul have my deepest respect and admiration. I wish our society made YOU the celebrities and role models.

  5. Happy Anniversary!

  6. hah that is so funny about the mix up, and woweee what an amazing place you went to have your wedding at, wow truly stunning! Huge congrats on your anniversary thanks for sharing that story it was really heartwarming xx

    • Thank you, Justine! We’ve definitely been blessed with more highlights than lowlights in our years together. Finding something to laugh about every day is a good way to keep a marriage fresh (as you and Shrek seem to do!)

  7. cardamone5 said:

    Happy Anniversary! You both look beautiful. What a great idea. Someday (maybe soon) your post will inspire me to share my more conventional (and as a result nightmarish) nuptial tales. My husband wanted to do it just as in a tropical location, but I insisted on having relatives present. Oh boy! We joke that everyone but us had fun.

    But, again, congrats. 25 years. That’s huge!


    • Ha Ha i’m glad it’s you and not me with your tale – and “I do” want to hear it soon!!!

      We’re a blended family and the logistics of a wedding with family/friends – as much as I love them – i just couldn’t cope with decisions, planning, negotiating…

      Now it’s your turn to regale us 🙂

  8. That is so beautiful! Congratulations!!! 25 years is so awesome and nearly unheard of these days. It’s a truly romantic story and the names are so much fun 🙂
    My husband and I will have 22 in August so we are just a few years behind you.
    Again congrats, and thanks for sharing your story and your beautiful photos!

    • Awww thank you! These good memories are what make aging worth it, eh? I hope you’ll share some of the highlights ( and even lowlights) occasionally. I love a good “true romance.”

      I like your new Gravatar. Are those being packed for Paris??

      • Indeed. I’m sure that I can find the occasion to share those moments from time to time :-).

        Thanks re: Gravatar. No, sadly those will be staying home, and I must be “plus pratique” when we go, because I am taking only one carry-on size bag for 4 weeks in France. Crazy, n’est-ce pas?

      • Nah, you’re a seasoned traveler. I laugh at having the same outfit in every picture but I travel light and comfy!

  9. What a perfect wedding! My husband and I did the same thing, minus the tropical Hawaiian setting; we went to Vegas, just the two of us, and got married in jeans and t-shirts, much to the chagrin of the officiant, who was moved to lecture us for twenty minutes about the gravity of what we were undertaking. She clearly didn’t think we stood much chance of staying married for long, but it’s been twelve years now and we’re still best friends and the happiest couple I know. Anyway, same basic theory, but nothing like your degree of romance. Happy anniversary to you, and thank you for sharing your sweet, sweet story.

    • I love that, Melinda! Being true to yourselves. I cannot believe she had the audacity to lecture you ( I bet she was just jealous).

      “…best friends and the happiest couple I know” – what a lovely statement about your relationship with your spouse. I am happy for you both 🙂

      • Thanks–we both had much more traditional weddings the first time around and we both found that a big fancy wedding did not a happy, successful marriage make.

      • Yeah, those “trainer” marriages and divorces teach us tough lessons about ourselves. I think of that when we so badly want to keep adult kids from bad choices – we made it through our “trials by fire” and they will, too.

        I couldn’t do the “big” wedding the first time around either – my little hippy self got married in my mini paisley dress with two witnesses!!

  10. LOVE this! Happy day to you!

  11. Happy Anniversary and thanks for sharing your story! Best wishes for many more 🙂

  12. Happy Anniversary! Sounds like the perfect wedding to me! Hubby and I will celebrate our 35th in June:) Guess I need to scan some of those old photos into the computer for an anniversary post! Thanks for sharing…loved it!

    • Thank you, Kat and congratulations on your long marriage. Definitely write an anniversary post. We need all the joy we can get floating around the world!

  13. Wonderful wedding story. Congratulations on your 25 years! The hubs and I marked our 25th last summer. Mind-boggling to reach that milestone, isn’t it? 🙂

    • Thank you, Carrie. Congrats back at ya! It is a real milestone and I wasn’t sure I was capable of “long haul” but I definitely picked the guy who could make it happen.
      It’s weird because it still feels like I’m just beginning with him and “where did all those years go?”

  14. Cool wedding! And many congratulations on reaching the silver – have a happy day both!
    Jude xx

  15. Great story, Sammy. Congratulations on your big day — 25 years is a wonderful number. My husband and I just celebrated our 18th . Best of luck and many, many more.

    • Thank you so much, Silvia. I love hearing about other happy marriages. I don’t know how to stop the years from going by so quickly!

  16. Happy Anniversary Sammy. I loved your story ….along with the two Daves and the two Bobs. What a truly magnificent wedding. You looked gorgeous.

    • Awww thank you for such kind words, Paula. We were so young 25 years ago but thought we were aging then! How perspective changes! I kind of cringe at my 80s big curly hair, but Hub wishes I still had it 🙂 and my grandkids say, “Mima, what’s wrong with your hair?”

  17. That’s so beautiful, Sammy! What a great story of your wedding; congrats on what sounds like an amazing marriage. Happy anniversary, too! ❤

    • Marci – thank you so much. I replied earlier, but it seems to have disappeared! We are both lucky to have such terrific Hubs 🙂 Hearing about happy marriages strengthens my own.

  18. Suzanne Ong said:

    Haha, what are the odds? Happy Anniversary 😀

    • ;-). Thank you for stopping by, Suzanne. I do wonder if Honeymoon Dave and his wife are still together and celebrated their 25th a few days ago.

      • Suzanne Ong said:

        It would be great if they are!

      • I’ll have to look on our marriage certificate and see if I can read his handwriting for last name then google or facebook search him. Could be another good story there 🙂

  19. Great memory!! I love how it all turned out. Seriously!? what are the odds you would meet up with a honeymooner with the same name as your photographer. Life is funny that way adding to the great memory. Thanks for sharing this. visiting on the roadtrip and glad I did!

    • Hi Conlee – thanks for stopping by and leaving your thoughts 🙂 I will swing by on my road trip to see what you’re writing about!

  20. Your story is similar to both of my sisters’, who also married in the islands. One sister’s vacation with long-time beau and my parents spontaneously turned into a “what the hell why not” wedding (they just celebrated year 17) and the other had just 7 family members in a tiny church, but my mom ended up inviting the minister and his wife, the church organist and his wife, the woman who did all of our hair/makeup and her boyfriend, and a kid I had met at the hotel and been hanging out with to the dinner after the ceremony. It was weird/fun! That marriage hits year 35 next month.

    • What great stories! Little churches, islands, carefree decisions – and they’re still going strong! Thanks for such a positive comment 🙂

  21. Happy Anniversary dear one! We ran off and got married alone as well. We called some retired friends to see if they would be witnesses, asked them what they were doing that day. Their reply was, we are sitting around doing nothing, counting the hours till we can leave tonight for the plane to our cruise; everything is packed, everything is cleaned, so we are doing nothing to mess it up; absolutely we will meet you there. To make a long story short, they dropped by when they returned from Mexico several weeks later, and had made one of the photo books with pics they took from their phone. In the front we where the wedding party was listed, she was one witness, and he was listed as everything else – including the flower girl. It is a treasure to remember as your Dave and Bob are. Big hugs!

  22. What a beautiful wedding, photos, and a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing, Sammy.

  23. Although we have wonderful memories of our wedding, my husband and I have both said if we had to do it over again, we’d elope and save the money. It was big and expensive and not easy to please everyone. You two did it right the first time 🙂

  24. Happy (belated) Anniversary and congratulations on 25 years of wedded bliss! I love your wedding story! ♥ The whole concept is so romantic and the comic relief of two Bobs and two Daves added just the right note. What a gorgeous couple you make. 🙂 Here’s to many more years of happiness.

    • Thank you, Debbie. I had to get married at dawn without time to get anxious about it 🙂 we do have a great marriage. Like yours is!

  25. Oh happy 25th wedding anniversary, how amazing and inspiring that you have been happily married for all those years. I’m coming up to 3 years and I hope that we will also make it all the way to silver and beyond!

    Your wedding sounds perfect, and I love the Bob, Bob, Dave, Dave connection. You couldn’t make that stuff up if you tried!

    Congratulations again, I hope you had a wonderful day celebrating such a happy occasion.

    • Thank you, dear Celine. It’s funny because sometimes I still feel like it’s only been 3-4 years. I guess that’s a sign of a good marriage. You and your hubby have lots of rich adventures ahead of you 🙂 i’m excited for you.

      • Oh that’s wonderful – I hope we think the same after 25 years!
        And thank you, I am excited to see what the future brings. In fact today is our anniversary – so our weddings were quite close to each other!

      • Oh my gosh- happy anniversary!! Your hubby is very lucky to be sharing his life with you *heart hug*

      • Thank you! *massive grin* What a lovely thing to say. If I wasn’t already smiling like moron, I am now! 🙂

  26. Congratulations and Happy Anniversary to you and your husband!!! I LOVE your story – so unique and romantic! I hope the next 25 years brings you lots more adventures and great stories together! 🙂

    • Thank you, Jen, for your visit and well wishes. We had a lot of fun “winging it” on our weddin, and it’s fun to retell, too :-). I hope you have a great weekend.

  27. Oh, I love this wedding story! It is wonderful and beautiful – as are both of you! Love the pictures! And Happy Anniversary – wishing you many more happy, healthy years of love and laughter! It’s funny – we will be married 20 years next year, and we are planning on going to Maui to celebrate. Great post – loved it! 🙂

    • Thank you, Lynn, for such a sweet message. I know you will hsve a wonderful time on Maui celebrating your own joyful marriage.

  28. Nice to meet you and many thanks for the follow. 🙂

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